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spirit of liberality and coöperation among scientific men.
Into this circle and brotherhood, however, it seems not to have been thought that religion had a claim to enter. It has been supposed to have its own place, and its own claims, and its own modes of investigation. But every thing now seems to indicate that there is an immense intellectual and moral universe corresponding in extent and variety to the physical universe, and that these are linked together by numberless relations so as to form but one whole. That there must be this unity thoughtful men have long been satisfied, and the present is a period of eager expectation for its more full recognition. It is like that period in the history of electricity, when philosophers were watching for the link that should bind the electrical phenomena of the earth and the heavens together. Or like that period which now again recurs in the history of the same science in its connection with magnetism and light and caloric ; when the phenomena of all of them seem to indicate some central point of radiation by their connection with which they may be severally embraced under the same general law, and be set as a single gem in the diadem of science. It is to this point that the eyes of the student are now turned. This is the next step to be taken. Rising from different and distant sources, science and religion are like two mighty rivers, sometimes seeming to run in opposite directions, but yet tending to empty their waters at the same point, into the same ocean. Already are they seen to approach each other ; words of friendly salutation are exchanged across the isthmus which yet divides them, and the pennons which gleam from the vessels of those who float upon their surface are found to contain mottoes of similar import. On the one I see it written, “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty;" and on the other, “ Just and true are thy ways,
O thou King of saints ;” and when these two currents shall unite, then there shall go up from the blended multitude, as the sound of many waters, the one undivided song of Moses and the Lamb.
Before passing to another branch of our subject, I may remark, that besides its peculiar tendency to enlarge the mind, from the broad nature of the subjects with which it brings it in connection, the study of Christianity as a science has, of course, connected with it the three important advantages belonging to all scientific knowledge. As all truth is consistent with itself, it gives us, first, a very important advantage in any subsequent inves
tigation over mere theory or a promiscuous collection of facts, by putting into our hands the clue to any difficulty which the human powers are capable of surmounting: second, it assists the memory by furnishing an arrangement and classification that is according to nature, and therefore simple and easy; and, third, it gives us a command of our knowledge in its just proportions, and enables us to present it in its harmony.
But I remark again, if the ministry would so study the Gospel as to liberalize their minds and fit them to become the educators of the community at the present day, they must not only study it as a science, but also in that simplicity of structure and variety of adaptation which it might be expected to possess as coming from God. In this point of view the Gospel stands unrivalled, and is far too little studied, far too seldom presented. It is perhaps impossible that any system should be more severely tried in this way than the Gospel has been, if we consider the test to which it was put at its commencement, in contrast with that to which it is now exposed.
Christianity at its commencement recognized the Jewish religion as from God, and it was a ground of its rejection by the Jews, that it destroyed their law or ritual. Hence it became necessary, and the main object of the apostle in the epistle to the Hebrews was to show, that it was in perfect harmony with the Jewish religion when rightly understood, and was indeed necessary to its completion. Did the Jews insist that Christianity had no priesthood ? the apostle affirms that it had such an high priest as became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. Did the Jews affirm that Christianity had no tabernacle ? the apostle asserts that Christ was the minister of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man, not indeed that he had entered into the holy places made with hands, which were the figures of the true, but into heaven itself. Was it objected that Christianity had no altar and no sacrifice ? the apostle affirms that now, once in the end of the world, that is of the Jewish dispensation, Christ had appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Thus did the apostle show the correspondence of the Christian with the Jewish religion, or rather that the Jewish religion, having dropped its swaddling clothes of rites and ceremonies, was in its spirit and actuating principles identical with Christianity. The same correspondence was either attempted to be shown, or taken for granted by all the New Testament writers. But
when we remember that Christianity is a purely spiritual religion encumbered by no forms, and that the Jewish was apparently the most technical and artificial of all systems, when we remember that there was not only to be preserved a correspondence with the types and ceremonies, but also that there was to be the fulfilment of a large number of prophecies, we may see the impossibility that any human art should construct a system so identical in its principles and yet so diverse in its manifestations. Nor indeed would there have been any motive to induce such an attempt; for besides its inherent difficulty, Christianity so far dropped all Jewish peculiarities as to forfeit every hope of benefit from their strong exclusive feelings, while at the same time it came before other nations subject to all the odium which it could not fail to excite as based on the Jewish religion. We accordingly find that in point of fact it was equally opposed by Jews and Gentiles. But such was the system, exclusive, typical, ceremonial, external, magnificent, addressed to the senses, between which and Christianity, simple, universal, spiritual, without form or pomp, it was necessary to show a correspondence, and this the apostle Paul and the New Testament writers generally did show.
How different the test to which Christianity is now put ! The works of God are acknowledged to be from him, and as now understood, how simple in their laws, how complex in their relations, how infinite in their extent. And can the same system which so perfectly corresponded with the narrow system of the Jews, correspond equally with the infinite and unrestricted system and relations of God's works? There are those now, and not a few, who reject or would modify Christianity on the ground of its want of conformity to the works of God, just as the Jews rejected or wished to modify it on the ground of its want of conformity to the old dispensation ; and it behooves the ministers of Christ to do that now in relation to these modern Jews which the apostle did for those of old. Doubtless he might have known and proclaimed enough of Christianity for salvation without studying its relations to a system that was old and ready to vanish away, and on the narrow grounds of study which some men advocate, he might have excused himself from writing the epistle to the Hebrews. And so may we perhaps proclaim truth enough for the salvation of men, that is, by which they might be saved without the kind of investigation of which I speak in this discourse ; but we are to remember that we are Vol. X. No. 28.
debtors to the learned as well as the unlearned, to the wise as well as to the unwise, and we are not assamed of the Gospel of Const before them. The present test is pertaps even more sesere than the former, for we may rest assured that nothing that is arbitrary or capricious, or concsh, or out of keeping with the present enlarged state of knowledge respecting the relia tions and unlimited extent of the pàysical universe can stand. Is it then possible that a religion once embosomed in the ceremonies of an ignorant and barbarous peopie, which received its expansion and completion in an age of the greatest ignorance in regard to physical science, should yet harmonize in its disclosures respecting God and his government with those enlarge
ions of his nature and kingdom which we now pose sess: Could Newton step from the study of the heavens to the study of the Bible, and feel that be made no descent? It is eren so. The God wbom the Bible discloses, and the moral system which it reveals lose nothing when compared with the extent of nature, or with the simplicity and majesty of her laws; they seem rather worthy to be enthroned upon and to preside orer such an amazing domain. The material universe, if not infinite, is indefinite in extent. We see in the misty spot which in a serene evening scarce discolors the deep blue of the sky, a distant milky way like that which encircles our heavens, and in a small projection of which our sun is situated. We see such milky ways strown in profusion over the heavens, each containing inore suns than we can number, and all these with their subordinate systems we see bound together by a law which is as efficient as it is simple and unchangeable. “They all stand up together, not one faileth.” But long before this system was discovered, there was made known in the Bible a moral system in entire correspondence with it. We see at the head of it
, and presiding in bigh authority over the whole, one infinite and only wise God, the King eternal, immortal, invisible. Of the systems above us, angelic or seraphic, we know little, but we see one law, simple, efficient and comprehensive as that of graritation, the law of love, extending its sway over the whole of God's dominions, living where he lives, embracing every moral movement in its universal authority, and producing the same harinony where it is obeyed, as we observe in the movements of nature.
We here find none of the puerilities that dwarf erery other system.
The sanctions of the law, the moral attributes revealed, the destinies involved, the prospects opened up, all
take hold on infinity, and are in perfect keeping with the solemn emotions excited by dwelling upon the illimitable works of God. Deep calleth unto deep.”
I have dwelt thus long upon these extreme and contrasted cases because they illustrate very fully the feature of the Gospel of which we are now speaking—its wonderful adaptation to every thing connected with it, which has come from God. But there are other adaptations more practical, and not less interesting which may not be wholly passed over on this occasion ; for it is of the last importance that the relation of Christianity to the moral, social, and political condition of society should not only be asserted, but should be made to appear and should be comprehended by the community. A new era in the history of Christianity has commenced; it is divorced from all connection with the law of the land, so far as provision for its support is concerned, and must hereafter rely upon itself alone. How then is Christianity, not preaching considered as an exhibition, or as an intellectual treat which the wealthy can afford to pay for, but genuine Christianity, to maintain its hold upon the respect and affections of the great body of thinking men who are not religious ? How shall we bring the infidel even, as many are brought, probably all of us have known instances of this, to assist in supporting its institutions and to prefer those schools for his children where religious instruction is given, thus arresting, if we cannot cure,
the gangrene of society? This result must be produced in part, I say not wholly, for I do not believe itthere is in Christianity a secret power to awe and restrain men apart from all prudential considerations—but it must be produced in no small degree, by showing that Christianity is the salt and leaven of society—the salt in its effects, the leaven in its mode of operation. It must be done by turning men off from their idolatry of political institutions as having an efficacy to regenerate society or to keep it pure, and by showing them that republican drunkenness and profaneness and gambling and licentiousness and dishonesty, are as bad as monarchical or aristocratic drunkenness and profaneness, and will as surely produce their bitter results. It must be done by showing that as civil society is an institution of God, its welfare must depend on obedience to his laws natural and moral; that the ends of society can be attained only where the domestic and family relations are rightly constituted, and properly sustained ; that this can be done only where there is a pure state of morals; and that a